Solution for Cloud & Application Maintenance, Quantyca I&O

QUANTYCA — INFRASTRUCTURE & OPERATIONS TEAM

Lorenzo Verardo
Oct 13, 2020 · 8 min read

Who we are

Hi,
my name is Lorenzo Verardo and I’m a member of the I&O Team in Quantyca.
With my colleague Andrea Macchi, we have written this post to share what we do and how we work.

  1. Type of support
  2. How we work?
  3. Conclusion

1. Infrastructure & Operations (I&O)

1.1 OUR BUSINESS

Within our company, the I&O team is responsible of four main subjects:

  • providing services and performing the necessary activities for the correct monitoring of both systems and applications
  • troubleshooting of malfunctions in applications and systems
  • maintaining our customers’ systems and keeping both infrastructures and applications always up to date

1.2 “O” FOR OPERATIONS

One of our pillars is for sure the operative part, the one in which we provide a support/assistance service for our customers through our second level help desk.
The goal of our support services, or operations, is to ensure the correct functioning of our clients’ architectural and infrastructural components (support perimeter).
Such perimeter includes the maintenance and administration of the applications, focused on ensuring their correct functioning and, as we go on, establishing a set of best practices that will help our future operations.
The support service includes also the use of monitoring tools, essential to ensure the health of services and applications, and also crucial to prevent problems before they occur, so that we can guarantee a high level of both reliability and performance.

1.3 SKILLS

Photo by Sheri Hooley on Unsplash

1.4 COMMUNICATION

There is a series of soft skills highly involved in our work, such as the communication skill, both with customers and coworkers, the ability to understand the emotional state of our interlocutor and the ability to manage stressful situations, coming from both external (other people) and internal (e.g. heavy workloads) events.
Even if these aspects can seem obvious at times, we ensure you that they are not!

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

1.5 ORGANIZATION

Thanks to our agile organization we can easily coordinate all the activities from all of our customers, carry out each single activity following the correct priorities while never missing a SLA, thank to a proactive monitoring.
Today our team includes the following figures:

  • Tech Lead
  • Infrastructure and Automation Tech Lead
  • I&O Specialists
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

2. Types of support

The activities that make up the service we provide to our customers is determined during service setup and are divided into:

2.1 ORDINARY MAINTENANCE

It is the set of agreed operational activities that can be defined as ordinary administration (administration of application components, manual batch execution, etc.). These activities are activated via ticketing system, opened by the customer or independently.

2.2 APPLICATION MAINTENANCE

All agreed operational activities relating to the monitoring and management of what has been carried out on design phase (subject to the transfer of know-how — KT) or developed by the customer / third parties and submitted to Quantyca support (correct verification of batch execution or ESB services, dispatch of reports and notifications etc), are part of application maintenance.

Photo by Tim van der Kuip on Unsplash

2.3 INFRASTRUCTURE MAINTENANCE

The infrastructure maintenance includes the controls developed and maintained to perform check and verification on the servers in order to guarantee the reachability of the applications and the correct state of the services.

2.4 AUTOMATION

The Checklist, as described above, can include application and infrastructure checks. In many cases these controls are critical for our customers because they can now predict various types and species problems. The remediation procedures are associated with this type of checks, which as we will see later in this article in the Warm Up phase of the service. Here, therefore, automation and monitoring are issues that see us personally involved.

3. How we work?

The support service follows a very simple and effective process that we try to describe. There is a first phase that we call Warm Up. This phase is not cyclical but it is necessary when you start with a new support contract or whenever the team’s scope of intervention is changed within the customer’s ecosystem.

3.1 WARM UP

Before start something, everything must be defined. Nothing is perfect, of course, but is important to take the time to define (almost) what is important. Warm Up phase is that moment.

Photo Calvin Craig on Unsplash
  1. Documentation and integration in it (if already exist) of operative procedures
  2. Handover e comprehension of architecture and infrastructure
  3. Definition and configuration of ticketing system
  4. Setup of manual and automatic checklist.
    It consists on a collection of preventive checks in a specific time slot, to grantee the correct working of applications, infrastructures and business process. Those tasks are usually at high impact and, usually, should be done before normal starting of working day.
  5. Preparation of knowledge base (Confluence)

3.2 SERVICE DELIVERY

Once the perimeter has been defined, the process of providing support services proceeds following a recursive cycle which consists of three phases: Input, Output and Review.

Photo by Slidebean on Unsplash
  • If issue and resolution is not present on playbook, it should be added as a point of attention/discussion for playbook revision
  • If the incident has a “monitorable” technical cause, it is added as a point of attention to be discussed during the Review to evaluate possible introduction of checks in the checklist or for integration with the monitoring system
  • If the incident can be resolved definitively, the improvements deemed necessary are proposed

4. Conclusion

In this article we wanted to share our approach to managing operations activities.
The nature of the service we offer is not only made up of processes, organizational procedures and / or tools, but has a strong propensity for human relationships. Who does this job deals with talking to the customer with whom he must continuously and constantly communicate.

Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash

“The real problem is usually two or three questions deep. If you want to go after someone’s problem, be aware that most people aren’t going to reveal what the real problem is after the first question.”
— Jim Rohn

Furthermore, having a strong propensity for problem determination, being quick in reasoning and not taking anything for granted are important qualities.

Quantyca

Quantyca — Data at Core

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